If you are like me, you’ll have found yourself (often) raiding the pantry for food in the middle of the night.
If I’m after something sugary, that’s no issue, there’s always a chocolate bar hiding somewhere or some recently baked cake tucked away in the fridge or left on the counter. But if I am after something less likely to have me jumping around on a sugar high at midnight, I’m usually left with a miserable selection.
Often instant noodles, a tin of tuna/sardine and a whole pantry full of peanut butter, condiments/sauces are all I have available at my disposal.
And honestly, who wants to have sardine-y fish breath right before they go to bed?
So here is a dish that I’ll happily consume at midnight, noon, for breakfast or cold out of the fridge. And all it takes is to mix together some sauces, a boiling pot of water, some form of dried noodles, 15 minutes of your time and you have an umami filled bowl to tuck into.
Inspired by Sichuan flavours, this spicy tangy nutty sauce is not only versatile but easy to make as well. Just hold back on the chilli and add to taste should you fear spice. You’ll find that the sweetness from the vinegar, creaminess of the peanut butter and sesame paste balances out the heat from the chillies well.
Before I divulge the recipe, I have to confess, the ingredients in this is probably more of something you’ll find in an asian pantry rather than a typical western pantry.
Whilst you might need to stock up on a few ingredients, these ingredients are the building blocks of many Asian dishes and can be easily sourced out at your local Asian grocer and I find them worth having in my pantry.
I hope you enjoy these noodles as much as I enjoy them and that you’ll give these a try the next time you have 15 minutes to spare and a grumbling stomach thats in need of some satisfying.
Midnight Pantry Noodles
What you’ll need:
- 200g dried wheat noodles / buckwheat soba noodles (or whatever you have in your pantry would work well too)
- 6 Tbsp Chinese-style chilli oil
- 5 Tbsp light soy sauce
- 3 Tbsp Chinkiang Vinegar (Black Rice Vinegar)
- 1 Tsp sesame oil
- 1 Tbsp natural peanut butter
- 3 Tbsp sesame paste* (or tahini)
- 5 tsp Sichuan chilli oil (optional)
- Boiled, Poached or Fried Egg
- Shredded cooked chicken
- Left over meat
- Roasted peanuts
- Sesame seeds and spring onions
- Toasted breadcrumbs
Fill a pot that’s big enough to contain the noodles with water and bring it to the boil.
Whilst waiting for the water to come to the boil, mix all the ingredients for the sauce together in a bowl until smooth and combined.
When the water starts to boil, add your dry noodles to the pot.
(You can boil your egg in it’s shell at this stage if you like. Just remember to remove your egg when it is cooked to your preferred doneness.)
When your noodles are cooked, drain it and add the sauce to your noodles.
Give it a good toss and top them with any additional toppings if you wish to.
- The sauce can be made in advance and stored in your fridge, ready to be use when you are hit with that sudden late night craving.
- This sauce is very versatile and pairs well with vegetables in a stir fry or tossed together with steam vegetables.
- The noodles are delicious cold as well.
To have it cold, just rinse your cooked noodles under really cold water or shock it in an ice bath. Add your sauce, mix, top with your left overs and enjoy.
* Asian sesame paste are usually darker in color because they are usually toasted longer before ground into a paste. However, regular sesame paste (tahini) will work as well if that’s all you have. But if you love the nutty flavour of toasted sesame, do give asian sesame paste a try.